Written By:

John B. Cobb, Jr., Ecological Academy: A Different Education Is Possible — Sunshine Ecovillage, City of Jiande, Zhejiang Province, China

We all participate in and contribute to the times in which we live, as we aspire for our own destiny. With reflection and discernment, our minds free us from concerns, yet doubts still trouble our hearts. Where is the distant poetic beauty?

There is a rural life, where traditional wisdom listens to the wind and appraises the moon for shifting environmental conditions; where a new generation of farmers are stepping on the life-giving ground and harvesting its seasonal yields. It is both local and global, and it can heal and rebuild the beautiful countryside while allowing us to reconnect with the Earth.


In the Sunshine Ecovillage you may talk and listen to perceptive men and women who can offer practical knowledge and help you navigate the trails of life. Combining traditional wisdom with the latest communication technology, this learning community blends in-person and online instruction.

Participants will experience a different lifestyle supported by a strong, committed community. As this promising education inspires more people, more and more ecological villages will appear instillingnewvalues and lifestyles that will be universally emulated.

Removing ourselves from the current consumerist model and returning to a cultivating of living persons, we will see a paradigm shift in human development. The relevant knowledge and technology are already available—what is needed is imagination and exploration of ecological lifestyles.

Cobb Ecological Academy (Sunshine Ecovillage) will be the place where your life and the world turn for the better. Your destiny awaits you.

Introduction to Cobb Ecological Academy (Sunshine Ecovillage)

We are located in the beautiful countryside, practicing rural revitalization strategies that cultivate the younger generation who are willing to return to the countryside for a richer life experience. Here, we experience the valley but feel the whole world, exploring the relationship between climate change and human lifestyle, practice and theory, all the while building a community for a better future. We discuss the issues of sustainable development and happiness of human beings thereby creating an “ecological person” with confidence, sensitivity, and practical wisdom.

The Academy was established on October 3rd, 2018, and is proudly co-sponsored by John B. Cobb, Jr., the Institute for Postmodern Development of China, Sunshine Ecovillage, and the Global Ecovillage Network.


The Academy integrates the concept of three Shengs(三生: Life (生命), Ecology(生态)and Lifestyle(生活). Based on Eastern wisdom and the philosophy of organism, the Academy has a strong educational structure espousing a flourishing Ecological Civilization. The IPDC provides a unique ecological civilization curriculum while the curriculum of the eco-village design education (EDE) of the Global Eco-Village Network and UNESCO’s Education for Sustainable Development (EDS) transforms participants into Eco-Persons, with dreams, ideas, sensitivity, and hands-on skills. The goal of the Academy is to create young leaders who are rooted in their land and traditional culture, but strive for global interconnection.

The meaning of Three Shengs—Life, Lifestyle and Ecology:

Education for life (生命)

This aspect aims at cultivating “Tongren” (通人) who is a unified person of body, feeling, mind and spirit. Thus the participants will find the true meaning of their life and happiness and learn that education in its truest form is not about money, or a job, but a better quality of life.

Education for Ecology(生态)

This aspect aims at cultivating an eco-person who reconnects the harmonious relationship between the self and others, people and society, humankind and nature, from “ego” to “eco”, “I” to “us”, competition to collaboration. It promotes the idea of “survival of the harmonious,” not “survival of the fittest.”

Education for Lifestyle生活)

This aims at instilling a person with creativity, practical skills and wisdom, in order to help them to live in an ecological way with much joy and happiness. As Alfred North Whitehead points out, “The only subject matter of education is life in all its manifestations.”

 -The Curriculum-

 In the first year, the curriculum consists of three modules:

  1. Organic Ecological Curriculum from Cobb Eco-Academy (Sunshine Ecovillage) is composed of six modules: ecological civilization, traditional culture, community building, everyday aesthetics, ecological farming and spiritual education.
Six Curriculum modules Covered content and scope Goal
1 Ecological Civilization 1. The problem of modernity

2. The new story: overview of ecological civilization

3. Deep ecology

4. Ecological economics

5. The second enlightenment

6. Classic reading

7. New energy

8. Ecological ethics

9. Project learning

Eco education

Tongren education

Value education

2 Traditional Wisdoms 1. Confucianism

2, Taoism

3. Buddhism

4. Yijing

5. Chinese medicine

6. Seasonal eating diet

7. Tea ceremony

8. Guqin

9. Tai Chi

10. Traditional crafts

11, Food and Diet

Place based education

Eco education

Tongren Education

Practice education

Value education

3 Building a community 1. Green leadership

2. Non-violent communication

3. Collaboration

4. Community services, etc.

5. Constructive postmodern psychology

6. English

7. Project learning

Community education

Tongren education

Practice education

Value education

4 Eco-farming 1. Ecological agriculture

2. Permaculture design (朴门Sustainable agriculture)

3. Natural farming

4. Compost

5. Project learning

Place based education

Tongren Education

Practice education

Value education

5 Everyday aesthetics 1. Singing
2. Guqin
3. Traditional crafts
4. Tea ceremony
5.Flower arrangement
6. Ecological design
7. Ecological buildings

8. Urban permaculture
9. Ecotourism
10. Postmodern lifestyle

Aesthetic education

Tongren Education

Practice education

Value education

6 Spiritual education 1. Mindfulness

2. Constructive postmodern psychology

Value education

Spiritual education

II. International Eco-Village Design Education (EDE): Based on the four core sustainable development dimensions of “Gaia, Culture, Ecology and Economy” of Gaia Education Eco-Village Design Course, the course content is enriched by ecological village practice. Experienced pioneers have been drawn from thousands of ecological villages and transformation cases around the world.

III. UNESCO Accreditation for Education (ESD): Focusing on sustainable development and nurturing the public by focusing on 17 sustainable development goals in 2030, promoting and improving basic education, and reorienting existing education at all levels. A plan for understanding and awareness of sustainability and training in four areas. Each year, through the four camps of spring, summer, autumn and winter, the instructors conduct concentrated face-to-face learning.

-The Program-

The Academy offers a two-year, non-degree educational program.

The first year consists of four terms (fall, winter, spring. Summer). Eight credits per term, totaling 32 credits for the first academic year. In the second year, a tailored project will be implemented and carried out by the participants. In addition, the Academy will offer students self-employment assistance and the opportunity for internship

 President: Dr. Fan Meijun

Dr. Fan is the co-director of the China Project at the Center for Process Studies, Claremont; the program director of the Institute for Postmodern Development of China; the editor-in-chief of Cultural Communication, a Chinese newspaper. She completed her doctoral studies at Beijing Normal University and her master’s program at Peking University. Her areas of specialty include Chinese traditional aesthetics, process and aesthetics education. She has authored several books including: Contemporary Interpretation of Chinese

 The Institute for Postmodern Development of China (IPDC)

The Institute for Postmodern Development of China (IPDC) was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2005 to create and promote new modes of development in China. Using ideas that integrate classical Chinese philosophy with constructive forms of Western thought, the Institute addresses practical problems associated with economic growth, social change, and globalization.  IPDC is based in Claremont, California. It has hosted numerous Chinese-American conferences in both the United States and China on ecological civilization, green development, reform of higher education, postmodern agriculture, and social responsibility in business, and dialogue between science and spirituality.

Contact information

Tel: 19957256583

E-mail: CEN20171212@126.con

WeChat: itisxiaogu